Village Main Reef and Pan African Resources have reached a wage agreement with the NUM and the United Association of SA in the wake of the gold sector strike.

These early wage settlements, struck by two of the five gold producers affected by the recent strike action in the sector has given hope to the industry that compromise is possible, said Elize Strydom, the chamber’s chief negotiator in the gold wage talks, writes Vicky Sidler.

“That the producers and the unions can find one another in the interests of preserving these operations indicates our mutual desire to achieve an affordable and sustainable settlement,” Strydom said in a statement.

Village Main Reef and Pan African, both JSE-listed companies, are offering an 8% increase in the basic wage for category 4 and 5 employees, including rockdrill operators, and a 7.5% increase in the basic wage for all other employees.

“The deal, which was struck under the auspices of the Chamber of Mines, recognises Village’s specific circumstances,” Village says. “Village is encouraged by the reaching of this settlement which will enable the preservation of the mine in the best interests of all stakeholders.”

Nevertheless, NUM points out that these settlements were specific to Village’s Tau Lekoa mine and Pan African’s Evander Gold mine. The strike continues to affect AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Sibanye Gold and Harmony Gold.

Harmony Gold, also a JSE-listed company, has admitted that the majority of its operations have been severely affected, although all essential services personnel are at work. Kusasalethu near Carletonville is operating at normal levels.

“We continue to engage with all the unions to reach a wage settlement and to curtail the strike.  We are encouraged by the responsible and peaceful conduct of employees engaged in the strike, and urge all parties to uphold the law and all agreements,” says Graham Briggs, Harmony chief executive officer.

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